At First Light
1993: The Ku Klux Klan hold a rally provoking violence from an unexpected quarter which leaves authorities with an extraordinary dilemma: how do you handle a 98-year-old perpetrator who will not speak out except to admit her guilt? 1919: Exiled in disgrace from her family, mixed-race Alicia is shocked by the primitive conditions when she arrives in Key West. Unlike anywhere else in Florida, people just get along - whites, blacks, Cubans, Catholics and Jews. At the same time, the last troop ship from Europe arrives, full of wounded and traumatized soldiers. Among them is Daniel, who survived the war by shutting himself off from other people. But an unseen passenger is also arriving: the deadly Spanish flu. As the epidemic takes hold, the Klan sets up residence, extending their hatred to anyone not white and Protestant. On Christmas Eve, the situation ignites in the most deadly of ways...From the bestselling author of SUMMERTIME, comes a story of a decades-old grievance and a promise made on a night which changed many lives for ever.
An epic love story and an unsolved murder, a prequel to the Richard and Judy Summer Book Club hit, SUMMERTIME
I loved it! I was completely riveted to this book, and couldn't put it down. Such a heartbreaking, beautiful story, told with such style and panache. It really brought Key West at that time alive for me - all the wildness, the vitality, the brutality, injustice and beauty were recreated with a mesmerizing clarity, and embodied in characters who lived and breathed. I could not put it down Katherine Webb, bestselling author of The Legacy Brilliantly paced and utterly immersive, I savoured every sentence of this wonderful novel. Vanessa Lafaye's vivid prose transported me to 1919 Key West, with its brothels and bars, beaches and swamps, conjuring a place where love can flourish - but danger lurks. At First Light uncovers a disturbing era of American history, offering an unflinching insight into the dark and bizarre world of the Ku Klux Klan. While the political backdrop is fascinating, it never overwhelms the driving force of the novel - a love story which is both tragic and uplifting Juliet West, author of The Faithful With characters and a story as warm and colourful as its Key West setting, Vanessa Lafaye's At First Light illuminates a shady period of American history with panache, style and a hearty punch to the gut. In Alicia Cortez she has created one of the most engaging heroines to walk across the pages of a historical novel in a long while Jason Hewitt, author of Devastation Road I loved this dark yet sunlit story of love and revenge, set against a fascinating backdrop of convergent events Lissa Evans, author of Their Finest
Vanessa Lafaye was born in Tallahassee and raised in Tampa, Florida, where there were hurricanes most years. She first came to the UK in 1987 looking for adventure, and found it. After spells of living in Paris and Oxford, she now lives in Marlborough, Wiltshire, with her husband and three furry children. Vanessa leads the local community choir, and music and writing are big parts of her life.